This picture story was submitted by Judy-Lynn McGrath of Orangeville
There are over 5,000 different types of mushroom species found in Ontario. Those are just the ones that have been discovered and classified. There are many more still being discovered.
In early August my husband Chris and I did one of our regular run-hike’s in Hockley Valley and found many varieties of mushrooms had sprouted after a recent rainfall. Our adventure led us into the colourful and fascinating world of fungi.
We love hiking and running in Hockley Valley but we also love mushrooms. They are delicious! But they also fill important roles by providing diverse substances and services, especially food and income for local communities. And, perhaps even more fascinating, they are vital to our ecosystems.
Below the surface is a network of microscopic fungal threads, known as mycelium, which are essential to ecosystems around the world. Through mycelium, mushrooms help other plants share nutrients and communicate through chemical signals.
It’s best to learn more by taking a workshop. A few years ago we did a field course in Simcoe County with a published expert Bob Bowles. And we purchased a few textbooks on mushrooms to help identify different species. It’s vital to know the difference between mushrooms that are edible and those that can make you sick.
If you are interested check out the Robert L Bowles Nature Centre